Otc's revisited

Discussion in 'Pipe Tobacco' started by RTOdhner, Oct 25, 2011.

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  1. RTOdhner

    RTOdhner Well-Known Member

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    I'm building up a tobacco cellar, and have been focusing on tried and true bulks from MacB and PS. When I first hooked up with PSF, I had been back at the pipe for a couple of years and was smoking what OTC's I could find locally - generally, PA, CH, and SWR. The evil people here at PSF corrupted me, and I've become a serious flake and Lakelands fiend. I've also been introduced to some other great tobaccos. However, I've neglected OTC's.

    The fancier stuff I've tried since hooking up with PSF have been great, don't get me wrong, but I find that I don't really get much out of a nuanced blend like, say FMOT. A great smoke, but I'm not sure I really appreciate it. Now, throw something simple and one dimensional at me like MacB Mixture Flake, MacB Solent Mixture, MacB Golden Extra, PS Cubed Burley, PS LNF, or PS EOS and I'm really good to go. Pipe smokers have differing needs and tastes, and I just want a nice relaxing bowl of baccy.

    So, I've been slowly revisiting good old American Burley, aka OTC, blends since they are about as simple and one dimensional as you can get - and I've been loving it. Many of these blends have been around for far longer than most of us have been alive and for one very simple reason: they're good pipe tobaccos. The fact that many of them are inexpensive and easy to find doesn't hurt either. The internet only helps with these tobaccos, since it allows me to locate OTC's that I cannot find locally.

    So far, I've revisited the usual suspects: CH, PA, SWR, Walnut, and H&H. Well, I haven't actually revisited CH or SWR because these are perenial favorites that I have as part of my morning smoke rotation. Walnut is also not a revisit, and I've always had some this on hand because it's really good. These smokes have all been around since Mobby Dick was a guppy cuz they're very good smokes. Now PA and H&H were revisits, more-or-less, and I find that they are not among my favorites. PA tends to get a little sour on me half-way through, but aside from that it is a pretty good smoke. H&H is just too light for me, but I certainly see the brilliance of this blend and why it appeals to so many smokers.

    Middleton Cherry Blend is one that I've sampled from time to time, but never actually bought a whole pouch. However, I found it locally and have now been through two pouches, and I have to say that it is just brilliant. SWRA is an aromatic OTC that I often saw, but never got around to really trying. However, I've been through two pouches of this and I think it is another simply brilliant tobacco.

    My upcoming hit list of OTC tobies to revisit includes Granger (just ordered two pouches) and Velvet (on the slate for next payday). I'm gonna check out my favorite "tobacco shop" on Friday and see what Jay, the owner, managed to order. Hopefully, he will have scored some Mixture 79 (yes, I'm up for a potential suicide mission) or any one of the other 10 blends I put on the list. If so, then I guess I'll have to pick up a pouch of something. Hell, I might even give Paladin or Captain Black a go just for shats and giggles.

    The OTC's of legend were intentionally designed to be mild and one dimensional. Blenders wanted to create pipe tobaccos that the masses would return to time after time, and they realized that the best way to do this was to put out relatively mild and smooth blends with a pleasing taste and room note, that goes easy on the consumer's wallet, and is relatively inexpensive to produce so that they can maximize profits. (Yes, they were men of bidnis - not "artisans."). I suspect that this is harder than we think, but they managed to do it, and in the process they managed to create some really brand-loyal consumers. Many an old codger I've known over the years had one or two OTC blends that they blissfully smoked for all their many years, and they tended to favor one blender over another. They certainly tried other blends, but they invariably returned to their old favorites. Thus, one codger might be a "Middleton Man," while another is a "Pinkerton Man."

    Perhaps this might seem boring to some, but I find the notion kind of comforting. I'm looking for blend or two that I can count on to give me years upon years of smoking pleasure. I posses the codger desire to have nothing more than just a good bowl of tobacco, and I really appreciate the OTC tobacco's abilities to deliver such smokes. I've yet to settle on my codger blend, but I've certainly found some good condidates. So the search continues, and that search is half the fun of pipe smoking.
     
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  2. ATXPipe

    ATXPipe Member

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    Here, here! Well said, RTO.

    I want to see your opinion on Velvet, I've been playing with the idea of getting some. I love Granger and Middleton's Cherry, they're my two favorite OTC's (today) and frankly I don't see what all the fuss over M79 is about...it's not half bad tobacco. In fact the only OTC blend I've absolutely hated was Paladin's. All the others have struck me as solid, tasty, easy burning tobaccos that I could be happy smoking if all the botique stuff was to dry up tomorrow. (shudder).
     
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  3. RTOdhner

    RTOdhner Well-Known Member

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    There are certainly some boutique blends out there that I like, but sometimes I feel at a loss when I read mutliple TR reviews that all claim the same thing - something that I just didn't get. So, either most of these guys are plagarizing one another or a pearl was cast before this swine. I dunno. I just like simple and one dimensional smokes, and I don't really appreciate nuanced boutique blends. I say "don't really appreciate" and not "dislike" because I do like them - I'm just not sure that I really get them. And that's cool, cuz guys like me keep PS, MacB, Middleton, and Pinkerton in bidnis.

    As far as Velvet does, I hope to revisit it in a serious light, smoke a couple of pouches, and really consider whether or not I actually like it. It was once a favorite of mine, but that was also when my range of tobacco had been limited and before I really understood what makes for a good smoke. We shall see, eh.
     
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  4. user1975

    user1975 Active Member

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    Good points,RTO. I agree with you that these blends are often overlooked, or poo pooed as being cheap, codger blends, but there is a reason they've been around for so long, they are good. I doubt I'll ever be without CH and SWRA. I still want to try Sugar Barrel, and Walnut, but will have to order online since they can't be found at my local grocery store. My biggest problem right now is I've fallen in love with Revor Plug which is an OTC in the UK, and is not readily available here stateside. Oh well, such is life.:(
     
  5. Out of Town

    Out of Town Member

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    Although i'm looking for 'that blend' , at the moment i'm happy to have a few that i can get easily from my local B&M. He won't do loose toby , only packets and tins..... but being in the UK he can get all of our OTC's.
    I'm making do with Condor,Erinmore, StBruno , Players Navy and now GH Ennerdale..... lifes tough here.
    He will order other stuff for me and i've Pete's Irish flake and Uni flake on it's way......
    Pre internet i doubt if i'd even of heard of them, most old codgers smoked only what was available in our village shop or maybe the bigger town on market day..... they were happy with their smokes, it was all they could get.
    I can go online and order a vast range , and one day i will ...... at the moment i'm happily puffing my way through what i can get....
    I've not ben a full time pipe smoker for long, and my taste seems to change with every revisit of my OTC's, maybe i'll settle on one or two one day..... but for now :bing:

    Good luck in your search RT, those OTC's have been around a long time for a reason.... it's just a bugger trying to pin a choice down.... but good fun.:toast:

    Dave
     
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  6. user1975

    user1975 Active Member

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    I feel so sorry for you! NOT!;):beck:
     
  7. RTOdhner

    RTOdhner Well-Known Member

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    The search for "that OTC" is long and hard, nothing but work, work, work, work, work. But I'll persevere and trudge onward... or something. Hey, somebody has to do it.
     
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